Persian Rugs, Indian Rugs, and Beyond: A Brief History of Rugs

If you are looking for specific color palettes or designs, knowing where a rug comes from can really help you narrow down the field being as different regions are known for different styles. It can also give you an insight into the quality of the rug. Nowadays, most of the well-known rug exporters make a vast array of rugs including contemporary and modern designs. I am going to discuss the designs and quality of the quintessential rugs from each region rather than discuss all the types of rugs that just about every country makes in much the same ways.


India 1.fw

India is one of the largest and most renowned producers of hand-crafted rugs. India is a major creator of modern rugs as well as collectible antique rugs. Persian rug designs make up the majority of the designs that come out of India.

India Keshan

Tapestries, textiles, and carpets have long been a major export for India. As desire grew in the west for the novel and exotic Persian design during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, India was one of the most popular regions to talk about when discussing your rug’s origin at a dinner party. Some of the most popular designs to come out of Jaipur, India then and now were Keshan, Tabriz, and Sarouk designs. Indian made rugs are associated with high knot-count, quality wool fibers, and intricate designs. Whether you are looking for antique reproductions or some of the most popular modern designs of today, you should feel confident in the quality of rugs from India.

Decorating Tip: Of course, Persian rugs and their intricate designs fit in with traditional room designs but there is a growing trend of placing these sophisticated pieces in more modern settings. Quirky, eclectic spaces can greatly benefit from a major focal point like an Indian made Persian rug. One of these rugs with their rich colors and distinctive patterns can tie the entire room together when mixing and matching patterns and textures.



china 1

The oriental rugs from China are some of the most vibrant and sophisticated rugs in the industry. Chinese made rugs can be high-quality works of art made from wool and/or silk, but due to the extremely high volume of rugs coming from China, not all of them fall into that category. Keeping an eye out for quality is important, but in terms of design, the oriental designs of Chinese rugs are at the top of the industry.

Chinese oriental rugs are recognized for their simple motifs that incorporate scene from nature such as animals, flowers, and clouds. Those designs are ensconced within simple, wide borders and set in contrasting colors. That technique of combining familiar shapes with contrasting colors creates a level of interest and texture that cannot be found in rugs from anywhere else other China. Chinese rugs are usually woven with a 5-ply yarn instead of 2-ply yarns like Persian rugs. This slightly thicker yarn weight provides further texture and depth.

Decorating Tip: Chinese characters and cherry blossom motifs are becoming a major hit among modern interior decorators. The rise of minimalism in the interior design world has also created a resurgence of oriental rugs. The simple but distinctive motifs of these rugs along with their contrasting color palettes work exceptionally well in modern spaces as well as transitional spaces.




Turkey exports some of the highest quality rugs available today and this region has been in the rug game for millennia. The oldest records of flat woven Kilims come from depictions painted on walls and pottery that are more than 9000 years old. The depictions on that pottery show geometric and stylized designs that match other historical designs, but that is about all that is known about those tapestries that have been lost to the ages. Not much is known about the rugs from this region until the 12th century.

Kilims, Konya Ladik, Oushak, and Hereke are the most popular designs from this region and they are some of the most popular designs in the industry today, period. The Kilim designs features medallions, intricate borders, and geometric motifs. Konya Ladik rugs are dominated by pastel colors and typically made from pure wool. The decorative rectilinear designs of the Oushak style are some of the most popular among Turkish-made rugs. Herek rugs are made with silk that is often blended with high-quality wool. These rugs are usually made in smaller sizes like 4X6 due to the high cost of silk.

Turkey Konya Ladik
The geometric patterns and vibrant navy, burgundy, and tan color palettes make these rugs great focal points in spacious rooms. Because they usually have small, tight pattern scales, these decorative pieces work best when your eyes have less complex patterns surrounding the rug. By giving your eyes a break from the intricate pattern, the rug appears to stand out even more.




Some of the earliest European rugs date back to the 16th century. Most of those rugs were Turkish copies due to the immense popularity of Turkish designs at the time. Some of the early original designs from this region were coats of arms and heraldic devices. The Aubusson and Savonnerie rugs designed in France during the 17th and 18th centuries took design elements from the vivid colors and patterns of the Baroque and Rococo styles of that period. Many antique rugs from this region have architectural elements in their designs. It was common for custom rugs to be commissioned to match the ceilings of the room it was meant for. These architectural designs became very popular and can still be seen in rugs designed in this region.

Decorating Tip: By and large, the European style of rugs works best in formal situations. Formal dining rooms and sitting areas compliment these elegant pieces far better than casual or eclectic settings. The pastel color tones and spacious floral patterns work best as a complementary piece rather than a focal point.




The American rug industry sprung up in the 18th century. Much like the European industry, the American industry leaned heavily on reproductions of famous designs from the East. Because the American rug industry came about much later than the Turkish, Indian, and Chinese industries, the original designs from American weavers are typically more contemporary. The designs and trends tended to follow those of their European counterparts. If we take into consideration the tapestries and woven designs of the Native Americans, we get a much different picture of American made rugs. Native American rugs have been growing in popularity. These southwestern designs feature geometric patterns and earthy color palettes with deep blue and burgundy sprinkled throughout.

Decorating Tip: The famous rugs hand woven by the Navajo people are some of the most sought after Native American made rugs. They are exceptionally beautiful and high quality, made from only the finest wool and natural fibers available. They work great as focal points in southwestern themed rooms and can even be hung on a wall as an art piece.


Understanding where a rug comes from can give you a different perspective when choosing a rug design for your home. While each of these regions puts out an extremely diverse range of rug styles, each region has a signature style that fit into different room designs. Be sure to share this guide to the origins of rugs with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.


You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *